Freedom and Reflection: Hegel and the Logic of Agency

Hardcover | December 14, 2011

byChristopher Yeomans

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There are many insightful discussions of Hegel's practical philosophy that emphasize the uniqueness of his expressivist and social theory of agency, but few recognize that these two aspects of Hegel's theory of the will are insufficient to avoid the traditional problem of free will. In fact,the problem can easily be shown to recur in the very language used to express why Hegel's theory is a theory of freedom at all. In part, this lack of recognition results from the fact that there has not yet been a study of Hegel's theory of the will that has formulated the problem against thebackground of the contemporary literature on free will, where basic concerns about the explicability of action loom large. By using the continuity between the contemporary concerns and those of Hegel's predecessors (particularly Kant), Yeomans shows the necessity of reference to the Logic in order to supplement Hegel's own practical philosophy and the scholarship based on it. In addition to adding significantly to ourunderstanding of Hegel's theory of agency and recapturing its significance with respect to continuing modern reflection on free will, this study also shows that Hegel's Logic can do some real philosophical work on a specific problem. Though Hegel's logical terminology is notorious for its impenetrability, Yeomans translates Hegel's jargon into a more easily comprehensible vocabulary. He further helps the reader by providing introductory discussions framing the central issues of each chapter both in terms of the problem of freewill and in terms of the development of Hegel's argument to that point in the Logic. Presenting the reader with frequent use of examples, Yeomans leavens the abstractness of Hegel's presentation and makes the topic accessible to readers new to Hegel as well as those well versed in his work.

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There are many insightful discussions of Hegel's practical philosophy that emphasize the uniqueness of his expressivist and social theory of agency, but few recognize that these two aspects of Hegel's theory of the will are insufficient to avoid the traditional problem of free will. In fact,the problem can easily be shown to recur in...

Christopher Yeomans is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University. He works on Hegel and late modern philosophy, and in the philosophy of action.

other books by Christopher Yeomans

Format:HardcoverDimensions:292 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:December 14, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199794529

ISBN - 13:9780199794522

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsPart I: Introduction1. Hegel and Free Will1.1: Hegel and the Traditional Problem of Free Will1.2: Hegel's Theory of Free Will2. The Problem of Expression as the Problem of Reflection2.1: Introduction2.2: Internal and External Determination in the Doctrine of Being2.3: Internal and External Determination in the Concept of Reflection2.4: Elements of the Theory of Reflection in Hegel's Moral Psychology2.5: The Shape of the ProjectPart II: Agency as Self-Explanation3. The Externality of Explanations and the Problem of an Infinite Regress4. Self-Explanation as the Basic Form of Explanation4.1: Ground as Expression4.2: Internal and External Determination in Explanations4.3: The Argument for Explanation as a Three-Term Relation4.4: The Role of Conditions as the Third Term in Explanation4.5: The Infection of Internality by the Conditions4.6: Holism about Explanation5. The Agent as a Locus of Self-ExplanationPart III: Agency as True Necessity6. The Necessity of Action and the Problem of Alternate Possibilities7. Modality in Hegel's Logic7.1: Modality as the Structure of Self-Expression7.2: Contingency as a Unity of Actuality and Possibility7.3: The Modal Continuum7.4: The Necessity of Alternate Possibilities8. Agency as True Necessity8.1: Willkur and Wille8.2: The Modal Argument for Hegel's Conception of the Free WillPart IV: Agency as Teleological Reciprocal Interaction9. The Mechanistic Challenge and the Problem of Passivity10. Teleology, Mechanism and Causation10.1: The Question of Priority10.2: Productivity as Expression10.3: Freedom as Substance-Causation10.4: The Passivity of Mechanical Causation10.5: Causation as Reciprocal Interaction10.6: Reciprocal Interaction as Freedom10.7: The Teleological Form of Reciprocal Self-Determination11. Teleological Agency11.1: Arguments Against Determinism11.2: A Teleological Philosophy of Action12. ConclusionBibliographyIndexNotes